girls are supposed to teach you stuff. thats their role. especially when youre 14 and you dont know anything and somehow they know evvvverything.
but the best thing mary taught me was a lesson i didnt know she taught me until i was much older.
she taught me that if you are going to have a girlfriend, make sure its with someone you can talk with.
mary lived one mile from me. but in those days one mile was different than one mile is today. same with the dollar. same with a million dollars.
in those days if you wanted a great house you had to pay $100,000. likewise if you lived a mile away it meant you never saw the girl.
so we talked on the phone. a lot.
for the first year i couldnt even believe that she wanted to talk to me. lord knows when i became that insecure, but to me she was the prettiest, coolest girl in the world. no way would she really be interested in talking with me, i thought. but she did. several times a day.
at first i would write little notes with subjects on them so there would never be any dead air. i didnt want to give her a reason to hang up. i found out later that she was nervous that id be bored of her. ha!
i also lied alot. id make up all these things about myself that were so not true. id teller i was in a band. id teller i was an undercover superhero tasked with flying a helicopter around LA. id teller anything i could just to hear her voice.
years went on and we’d go to the movies once in a blue moon, but even though we lived just a mile a way, to actually drive to her house was like a 5 mile trip because there hadnt yet been a road yet to connect us. so we had to rely on our parents to drive us to see each other. since we were both the oldest kids, we were stuck on the phone every night.
it was a fine lesson and taught me how to actually have a conversation bereft of content. i mean seriously, what did we have to talk about? two kids in different suburban illinois high schools who never got in trouble, never did anything, and only had 3 tv channels to watch? what was there to say?
eventually i got the courage to “make my move” and making out happened and suddenly i had lots to say. just not to her. how could i tell her about all the new feelings inside?
that had to wait till the summer.
when she moved.